Tag: twomorrows publishing

With Further Ado #123: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

With Further Ado #123: Holiday Gift Guide 2020

It’s been rough year for most of us, but in Geek Culture there’s been plenty of bright spots. In the spirit of trumpeting some of the good stuff, here’s my Annual Holiday Gift Guide.


HOLLY JOLLY: CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS PAST IN POP CULTURE
Written by Mark Voger
TwoMorrows Publishing

Every year, I make room on my nightstand for The Battle For Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. For me, it’s the “alpha book”  in analyzing and explaining our Christmas traditions that have shaped the way we celebrate the holiday.

But this December, I think I will have to make room on that night stand for TwoMorrows Publishing’s newest book. Holly Jolly by Mark Voger looks to be the definitive pop-culture counterpart to Nissenbaum’s tome.  I always enjoy Mark Voger’s writing, and I just loved his Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture (also published by TwoMorrows) a few years back.

“I can’t think of a single topic that has generated more art and culture,” says author Mark Voger of why he decided to do a Christmas book. “From music to movies, TV, cartoons, food and decor, everybody seems to have a favorite Christmas ‘something’ — a delicacy or a song or an animated special. I tried to cram everything in Holly Jolly.”

$43.95 192 pp. • Hardcover, Full Color  • ISBN: 1605490970

Available everywhere books are sold, and from the publisher TwoMorrows.


THE FANTASTIC PAINTINGS OF FRAZETTA
by J. David Spurlock 
Vanguard Publishing

Despite the calamitous nature of 2020, my wife and I were able to visit the Frank Frazetta Museum last summer. It was a wonderful trip, and I am still in awe of all the amazing paintings there.  Reading this oversized coffee table book is like a V.I.P. guided tour in that museum.  Spurlock provides just enough background and reference so that anyone can appreciate Frazetta’s talent and creativity. In fact, I wrote about this book earlier this year, and you can read that here.

My Highest Recommendation

$39.95 120 pp. • paperback  • ISBN-10: 1934331813

Available at bookstores, comic shops, the Frazetta Museum, and directly from Vanguard, the publisher.


FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES

CAT & CAT: GIRL MEETS CAT
by Christoph Cazenove, Herve Richez & Yrgane Ramon
Papercutz

Yrgane Ramon sure can draw funny cats. But the thing I like most about this artist’s work is the panels she creates. While eschewing the traditional panel grid/border, Ramon still creates a sense of storytelling urgency.

There’s a lovely element where the heroine, Cat, is from a strong single parent family. It’s not a hit-you-over-the-head type of thing, but just another sweet element of a very sweet book.

$9.99 96 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545804281

Available at bookstores. comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


ATTACK OF THE STUFF
by Jim Benton
Papercutz

If you gift this book to a fourth grader, you’ll be thrilled by how much they laugh out loud and how cool they think you are. But if you read this book with your spouse, as I did, you’ll also be laughing out loud. And maybe you’ll be thinking, “I shouldn’t have given that book away as a gift – I should’a kept it!”

The main character has a gift to hear the thoughts of all inanimate objects. The only problem is – everything whines. It’s a hilarious concept and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.  Publisher Jim Salicrup shepherds so many brilliant books, that it shouldn’t be a surprise what a winner Attack of the Stuff is. But it is a winner and that’s a wonderful surprise.

Caution: Don’t drink milk while reading this because you’ll snort it out your nose from laughing so much.

$9.99 96 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545804990

Available at bookstores. comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


EDISON BEAKER, CREATURE SEEKER: THE NIGHT DOOR
by Frank Cammuso
Viking, an imprint of Random House

What’s fun, and goofy and feels like that exact time of day when school lets out? That’s easy! The answer is any book by Frank Cammuso. His latest Edison Beaker adventure is no exception. This is an engaging one to read or to gift!

$16.99 120 pp. • Hardcover  • ISBN-10: 1949028445

Available at books stores & comic shops everywhere and online

 


GILLBERT VOLUME 3: THE FLAMING CARATS EVOLUTION
By Art Baltazar
Papercutz

Many folks think that a creator like Art Baltazar can do no wrong. I’m one of those guys!  Once again, Art takes readers on a journey of fun and silliness, peppered with a hefty dose of natural, wide-eyed fun and awe.  A wonderful read for all ages!

$14.99 80 pp. • hardcover & paperback  • ISBN 978-1-5458-0488-9 (hc)

Available at comic shops, fine bookstores and directly from Papercutz.


COLLECTED COMICS

UNDONE BY BLOOD or SHADOW OF A WANTED MAN
by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson and Sami Kivelä
AfterShock Comics

I like this book so much that I assigned it as homework in one of my classes. An unconventional western with more than one twists to shake up the genre and keep every reader on her or his toes.  This clever story is brought to life with strong art from Kivelä.

$15.99 160 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10: 0425291936

Available at bookstores & comic shops everywhere and online here.


BILLIONAIRE ISLAND
by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh
Ahoy Comics

Last week I skimmed an article in the New York Times about how billionaires have made so many Trillion (with a “T”) dollars more during the pandemic. It was, I will admit, a little debilitating.

But this hilarious series from Ahoy Comics helped me laugh away any depressing thoughts.  Satirist Mark Russell sets his sights on the ultra-wealthy in this recent series, just collected as a trade paperback.  It’s hard to imagine that he wrote it all before the recent headlines.  Steve Pugh, a longtime favorite (I still miss his detective-exorcist series, Alice Hotwire) delivers a gorgeous story, all the while making it look so easy.

<This is the kind of book that a guy like fellow columnist Mike Gold would love.>

$16.99 144 pp. • paperback  • ISBN-10: 1952090024

Available at comic shops and fine bookstores everywhere and at the online store of NYC’s Midtown Comics.  


THE MAN WHO F#%&ED UP TIME
by John Layman and Karl Mostert
Aftershock Comics

I like time travel stories, and I bet you do too. In fact, in my comic collection I have a box devoted to time travel comics.  You know, stuff like Aztec Ace, Rip Hunter, Chronos, Timespirits and Chrononauts. This new series from Aftershock, The Man Who Fu#%&ed Time, fits right in. It’s funny, irreverent and thoughtful. But not so thoughtful that your head hurts. This one moves along at a brisk pace and the reader almost wishes it unfolded more slowly. Ah well, tempus fugit, as they say.

$15.99 160 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10: 1949028453

Available at bookstores & all the best comic shops.


GET SMART

CITY OF PLEASURE
By Alexandre Dupouy
Korero Press

You know how you think that your parents’ or grandparents’ generation was all prim and proper, and that you, and your friends, were the first to discover how much fun it is to be bad? Well, a book like this one will quickly cure you of that naïve hubris.

Dupouy’s book celebrates Paris during the time of madness, between the wars, and the new lifestyles embraced, all with a lust for excess.  This book definitely puts the growl back in to the roaring twenties.

$30.39 176 pp. • hardcover  • ISBN 1912740052

 Available at comic shops, fine bookstores and directly from Korero.


THE CONSCIOUS MARKETER : Inspiring a Deeper and More Conscious Brand Experience
By Jim Joseph
Mascot Books

If you can’t get enough of marketing expert Jim Joseph through his daily blog, I’d heartily suggest you give his latest marketing book a try. It’s insightful, brisk to read and leaves you feeling energized and just a little bit smarter.

$24.95 216 pp. • hardcover     • ISBN 978-1-68401-871-0

Available at bookstores and directly from the publisher, Mascot.

 

 

* * *

Have a wonderful Yuletide…and to all a Good Night!

With Further Ado #88: Nimble Innovation

With Further Ado #88: Nimble Innovation

I wish this was an April’s Fools story, but it is not.

In Mike Gold’s column here on Monday, Brainiac on Banjo, he talked about how comic shops, like so many other businesses, are struggling during the surreal new reality that the Coronavirus has unleashed. It’s a scary time for these entrepreneurs.

But we need to keep business issues and life-threatening issues in perspective.  We’re just a few weeks into it. Public figures are now contracting the virus, and many of us now know real people who have contracted it. I have two friends fighting the good fight against COVID-19 in the hospital right now. One’s outlook is pretty grim, I am afraid.

So my heart aches in so many ways. The prospect of a collapse, or at best a terrible shakeout of Geek Culture is one the scary things of which I am fearful. USA TODAY even noticed. They started a recent article with a look at a fanboy turned retailer in Pennsylvania:

YORK, Pa. – Brian Waltersdorff has been strolling the aisles of Comic Store West in York, Pennsylvania,  since 1986. He was the store’s first customer.

Fast forward 22 years, he found himself buying a portion of ownership into the store. This past January, he bought out his partners for sole ownership of his childhood comic book shop. 

“First-year businesses always have problems. I didn’t think it would happen (here),” he said. “But here we are.” 

Waltersdorff is one of several comic book shop owners across the country who are battling an unprecedented level of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak

The restrictions on movement have been catastrophic for him – as they have for most small business owners. However, the comic book industry is navigating a different sea of change: its main supplier has completely shut down its distribution chain.

 

Comic Shops, have, for the most part, been run and owned by strong-willed entrepreneurs who have financially skated near the edge. Likewise, publishers and companies that create Geek Culture ephemera have done the same.

In that column this past Monday, Mike Gold wrote, “Only a very few publishers are owned by massive mega-corporations such as AT&T, Amazon, and Disney. The rest are owned by very hard working Mom ’n’ Pop cockroach capitalists who depend upon these shops.”

TwoMorrows Publishing wrote candidly about how tough it is to sell magazines when your distributor and retailer outlets are closed.  So they are offering a 40% sale to keep the lights on. Continue reading “With Further Ado #88: Nimble Innovation”